Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Seizure and the Battle Weary

I woke up bleary eyed.  My eyes half closed, I stumbled to my phone to turn off the alarm and not wake Thomas and Ben.

Shutting the door quietly, I went to spend some time in my Bible.  Quite awhile ago I decided that my most important relationship needed to be my priority and with a house full, early morning was my only time alone.

Shutting the door quietly, I found, was my first mistake of the morning...

I'm tired.  It's been a long month.  I decided I would crawl back into bed with my husband and maybe sneak another hour or two.  Apparently my cat/kitten (Miss Chiph) was sleeping extremely deeply while cuddled up with Thomas.

Opening up the door I scared I've never seen her scared before.

(I must admit at this point in writing I'm totally laughing.)

I scared the urine out of her. (Don't judge's our crazy life.)

In the middle of the bed.

We didn't know.

Miss Chiph started crying in a way I didn't know cats could.  Picture a cat sobbing.  Miss Chiph clung to me as I held her and climbed into bed.

My husband rolled over....


He rolled over right into a cat-made swimming pool.

That's the way we woke up this morning.  I will say we don't have many firsts anymore, but there's always something new around here.  That was just the beginning of the day.  It didn't get a whole lot smoother after that.

Strangely, there has constantly been new things during the last few weeks, most of which we would have (truthfully) chosen to bypass.

Strangely? (What am I thinking..we are adopting.  Maybe not so strangely.)


Mommy, my head itches.

Sounds like an innocuous sentence? Doesn't it?

Yet we had something (wildly) we had never experienced before.

Gabe had a mild fever, a headache, had torn up his scalp itching, and had enlarged lymph nodes at the back of his head and scalp.

No, not lice.  Normally at this point I would be saying, "Thank you! Thank you!"

Gabriel (after a sample was taken) was diagnosed as having a staph infection in the scalp.  For those that don't know, staph is everywhere and really common.  Any crowded place can have one child passing it to another.

This was a first for us.  Thankfully it was not antibiotic resistant (MRSA), just stubborn.  Poor Gabe....

He is now on his forth round of antibiotics (a stronger one) and it looks to be knocking out the remainder of it.  We no longer see the actual infection (ummmm...not the most pleasant for Gabriel or us...gross stuff).  I can't wait to be able to use actual shampoo on him again.

I'm so thankful for a thorough pediatrician.


As we moved farther away from the diagnoses, we started getting weird sounds from our laundry room (our dryer was slowly dying, but this was different).  Don't worry....we figured out..... after having to  wade through a couple inches of water in our kitchen (chuckle).

The washing machine....

Every towel (dirty or clean), blanket, piece of cloth...came out to soak up the mess.  Every fan came out to dry the floors.

We then spent days running a few blocks away to do laundry at my mom's house.  (By the way, my mom is AWESOME!)

Before spending money that (well truthfully) most of us don't have at the ready, Thomas took a look at the machine with the help of Anna.  A tube had popped off.  Ok, no big deal...

But wait...this is NOT a normal home...(smile)

After reattaching everything, the kitchen was dry and very clean,

Then it flooded again.  I'm pretty sure the washing machine was laughing at us.

At that point I handed the situation to my husband. It was that or open fire, and that probably wasn't advisable.

 THANKFULLY, he double checked that the washer was under warranty (it was).  We were under the impression that it had expired.

The guy that fixed it was fantastic.

So, of course, he wouldn't have seen the next event coming.

Twenty minutes after he flooded the entire kitchen... again.  I'm was thinking our washing machine was evil about then.

Apparently the model of our washer has issues.  Another tech had seen the exact same situation before and it was not fixable.

We now have a new washer (blessing out of the craziness).

Yet, the road we were traveling had just begun.

After a situation that created emotional strain that we are still recovering from (and processing), this difficult road continued.  We had an event, not from within the family, that had far reaching implications...and some processing that may go on for years.  That's a story I'm not going to share on here at this point.

The next event is a story within itself.

Sunday Morning July 19th

Sarah had been running a fever.  It was being stubborn, so my husband sacrificed his bed so that I could keep an eye on her.  Yes, she's eighteen (almost 19), but we couldn't get her fever to stay down.

I climbed into bed at around 6:15am and at around 6:25 heard Sarah slide out of bed and head to the bathroom.

I didn't awake again until barely after seven when my husband was yelling for me and I watched him carry my pale, unconscious daughter through the play area of our house to the living room.

We've pieced things together since then.

Sarah felt nauseous and headed to the bathroom.  At that point her head started feeling "full" and her ears started ringing.  She recalls thinking, "This is just like when I had a seizure last time.  Nah...."

That's one of the last things she remembers.  We are missing around 25 minutes.  She awoke with her head trapped from when she fell.  She had slight red lines near her neck (though it was the top of her head that was caught).  It felt like rising from a sound sleep.  In her head she was still in bed with me.  She was disoriented...and then realized she was trapped...stuck.  She yanked around, trying to pull her head from the position, her mind not processing where she was or why this happened.  She could not make a coherent thought and screamed.  My husband said it was similar to a wounded animal.  I didn't hear it.

As he made it to the bathroom door and wasn't sure whether to open it or not, knowing she may not be decent, but when she didn't answer he jimmied the door and she was in the process of standing up.

"Daddy", she said.  He pulled her into his chest.  "It's happening again."

She then passed out and Thomas called to me.  It all happened in an instant.  It hadn't happened since  February 7th (and never before that).

We went to a local hospital ER that specializes in Neurology where this was taken VERY seriously.  Sarah spent four days in the hospital with every test you can imagine run (MRI, two CT Scans, Lumbar Puncture, x-rays, blood cultures, multiple blood test,  EEG, 24 hour EKG etc.).  The hospitalization and three doctor's appointments later and all the test results were normal.

Well, almost everything....

Celiac Disease (a severe allergy to gluten, which is a derivative of wheat and used as a binder in almost everything)....

Yup, we finally have a suspect.  We had no clue gluten allergy could cause seizures.  Just before both seizures (within two weeks) Sarah had changed her diet to contain much more wheat.  The clincher is she had unexplained weight loss (and the inability to gain it back) starting in January (February being the first seizure).  So now we wait and see....

Side Note: Did I mention Sarah had a reaction to three different meds while in the hospital and right after? One medication turned her bright red (like a bad sunburn) and she had problems breathing. The combination of two medications made her liver enzymes SKYROCKET to dangerous levels.  She also had serious side effects from the fourth med (temporary anti-seizure med).

Sarah is still recovering.  She is almost off of the anti seizure meds (you get off them too quickly and they can....wait for it...cause seizures).  She has started a new part time job yesterday (did I not mention she got a job offer while recuperating?). The hard thing about seizures (ok, one of many) is that, just like a broken leg, your brain needs to heal.  For her this means that her brain can't process lots of movement and sound (she works in retail) for a bit without making her overwhelmed.  There's also a lot of weakness (we think much of it is from the medication) as she recovers.

Never do I want to feel as helpless as seeing my baby unconscious in my husband's arms again.  NEVER....

I can't joke when writing about this.  It is scary to know your child is having seizures and you don't know why.  With each MRI being normal, we sighed, knowing what it could have been.

Side Note: Now that is not to say we didn't make jokes in the hospital, that's how we all function...laughter.  My favorite (I think) was when Sarah was woken up at 5:00 am for another blood draw.  They asked her what vein she wanted them to draw from.  Groggy and half awake Sarah pointed to one and said, "I think we'll STICK with this one."
She then looked over at me and said, "Get it?!"
"Sorry" she then stated with a straight face, "I'm not supposed to be this funny this early in the morning."
That's our daughter.


I wish I could say our story ended here.  It's really been a case of dominoes all in a row.  One event catapults us to another.  I can't even share everything at this point.

While Sarah was still recovering and had more tests being run, Tom came home from work his hands swollen, painful, and itching.

Benadryl did not touch it.

A doctor and steroids AT FIRST didn't touch it.  It traveled up his back, his face, and down painful itchy hives.

It took a few days, but they slowly disappeared.

Like it was taunting us, they returned within the week.  Tom couldn't drive or even feed himself with the hand swelling and pain.

After steroids, he is again back to normal and we have a theory.

We have become detectives as of late.  Tom has started a new job and we believe he is highly allergic to either the cleaning fluid or the soap used there.  He is going to attempt to take higher precautions, but we're not sure this is a job he will be able to keep.


As we sat back on the couch to relax after battling a virus (yes, there was a virus in here too), we got a call from our daughter the camp she was at six hours away.

Our poor youth ministers, Tom and Wendy, knew ALL the drama rampaging through our house.  I know they had to go, "Really? Anna?!"  I love them.  They are crazy, wonderful, and had our Anna's back.

She had a quickly traveling rash going up her leg.  The nurse felt, with Benadryl not working, that it was an infection.  Ok, so lets think about this....a quickly traveling infection.

I will admit, I hung up the phone the first time she called and burst into tears (of course I didn't let her know that).  My baby was six hours away and though logically I knew she would most likely be just fine...most likely doesn't cut it for a mama and daddy heart.  This was exhausting....

 (Shoot, this is exhausting writing all this...LOL.)

With a circle drawn around an ever traveling infection, we waited a couple of hours and she went to the ER.

Anna, being our outside girl, had brushed against something unknown and had a allergic reaction. The ER had only seen this reaction a couple times in the last several weeks (never before this).  They have no clue what caused it.

This was our least surprising adventure.  Anna is an outdoors, hands on, nature lover (as well as ANYTHING living).

By the way...she had a BLAST at camp! (Just had to throw that out there.)

Anna is in the center of the three girls looking at the camera in one row.

SOOOOO....why share all this?  Well, it's what's going on.  It's our crazy wonderful life.  This isn't all that's happened, but all I have the energy, permission, or ability to share at this point.

We've taken a bit of a battering.  We are trying to process an event that I touched on earlier.  Yet, through all of this our friends and family have stood beside us.  Sarah's fiance (and his family) was at her side.  My brother took off work.  My mom came to sit with the kids for awhile and ran errands.  My friend Amber sat with the kids, made dinner, and washed dishes.  My husband's work made it possible to tag team at the hospital.  Many offered to come.  Many asked what we needed.  Some friends brought meals or visited the hospital.  Sarah's room was filled with flowers.

It has been exhausting, but a reminder that the network of love that surrounds us made (even in hardship) everything run smoothly.

Times like this are not normal for us. Maybe I should add at the end of the sentence.....unless we are adopting.

I don't think it's just adopting though.  It's whenever you open up your hearts and lives and follow God.

There is never any guarantee it will be easy and this is the first time our children have been hit so blatantly.

We've had people question this thought...the thought that the evil one attacks those who are following God's Plan for them.  I've been told that sometimes in life these things just happen.

We have experience in life that some may not though (just as they have experiences we haven't).  We are not perfect.  We have not always listened to God and at times been in rebellion.  Yet in our experience we have learned that the master of lies will do whatever possible to discourage you from a path God has put you on.  The fighting has been painful this time (in many ways we haven't shared), not just everything breaking (though many things have).

We have seen time and time again the trials increase when you take a road less traveled. Many friends are in the midst of battle right now.  It's blown us away the war going on around us...the trials fellow brothers and sisters are fighting just to cling to God and His Path.

It's rough stuff...the war.  Yet, for us, a little boy waits at the end of this road.

Our three year old Timothy Bryan...unseen because he was born a little different.  Our family celebrates different and cannot wait to hold...hug...and love every ounce of this little blessing.

Through this we will battle, laugh, and truthfully cry.

We appreciate prayer and ask for prayer.

We know we have been carried through by our loving God with prayers from our awesome Christian family up until this point.

We are battle worn.  We are weary.  Yet, we know who wins in the end.


Prayer requests:
*That the "processing" we are doing, comes to a conclusion (in our hearts)... understanding and hope.
*That all illness, allergy, and injury comes to an end for now.  For protection for our family during this adoption journey (including our "Little" across the oceans) and for God's glory during this process.
*For our paperwork to be processed quickly and flawlessly.
*Finally, for God's provision, as we are still far from what is needed to bring our son home...though we KNOW (have experienced) that God provides when you follow Him.

Adoption Update
We have our immigration fingerprint appointment this coming week.  Hopefully (prayerfully) we will not wait long for approval.  We are gathering paperwork to send to the country as soon as immigration approval comes in.  This is when the next set of fees are due.  After that we get to wait for several stages that lead up to be able to travel to the country.

Family Update
We are all slowly putting together everything for Sarah's wedding in a little over two months. Though she's getting married at her fiance's Church, there's still a lot to do.  This is a group effort. We feel we have done so little at this point.  With Sarah recovering, we are just trying to keep it all calm and non stressful.

We are still having some virus and allergy issues...getting better though (smile).


  1. Thank you for your example of trusting God, no matter what! I was just telling one of our foster children about Job this evening, and in so many ways, your story reminds me of his.... Never give up! Keep following Him; it's all for His glory!

  2. Oh my!! You are in my prayers!

  3. SO many fiery darts/flaming arrows from the evil one! Keep that firm grasp on your shield of faith, my friend!

    "Praying at all times in the Spirit"


In the joy of following our Heavenly Father, we sometimes choose to proceed with a whisper, a verse, or a downright matter how we follow Him, the momentum that follows is like nothing we've ever experienced before.

Join the is a beautiful place to be. It's not always easy, but then the best things never are.

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